Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Genre Character of the Week: Peter Piper

Like many readers, I have a pretty big back-log of books I honestly mean to read, but end up sitting on my shelves month after month (and sometimes, I am sad to say, year after year) waiting for the guy who purchased them in the first place to fulfill his end of the bargain and read them. This year I’ve been pretty good, making sure that I hit at least one a month, and for May that book was Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham. The main character of the book is none other than Peter Piper, who indeed picks a peck of peppers early on in the story.

One of my favourite parts of Fables is the conceit that these storybook characters who live in a modern, real world setting, can be more than one character from old stories, nursery rhymes etc., so Jack is Jack Frost, a giant killer, beanstalk climber, and fellow to Jill. Prince Charming is a serial monogamist, having married, and in turned divorced himself from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White.

The main character in Peter & Max is not just a pepper picker, but also the same Peter from Peter and the Wolf and is also something of a Pumpkin Eater. His brother Max is also a Piper, and one who has a dark destiny with the folks of Hamelin Town.

What I love about Peter in this book is his bravery, his willingness to accept challenges, and his love for his wife, Bo Peep (sorry Woody, but Peter and Bo have a much stronger relationship than you ever did).

If you’ve never read any Fables before, I strongly recommend checking out the comic series first, but the book is great as a stand-alone novel as well.

In the end, I can definitely say this book was worth the wait.

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